I woke up in a good mood and had just a bit of tummy butterflies. I could still eat though (Mix1 is the BEST!!!) and had a small cup of coffee on the drive. I was having a good time listening to cool music and watching the sun come up. Even though transition opened at 5:30 I purposely decided to be anti-Type A and I showed up around 6am. I still got a fantastic transition spot! This race was so low key that there were only 6-8 bikes per rack. It made for a long transition area but I was comfy and could have even had a tent popped up in the space I had.
A. Newt ready to go....look at the room she had on the rack!
After setting up, I took a nice long jog around the lake. Surprisingly, after a 100 mile bike on Wednesday followed by a 6 mile run and then a 12 mile run on Thursday, my legs felt nice jogging. I picked up the pace a couple of times and knew I would have a good run. My potty visits were right on time and I was getting excited. The water temp was supposedly 74 degrees and I even flirted with the possibility of going without a wetsuit but Saturday morning the air temp was only mid-50s and I was a bit chilled. So then the question was sleeves or sleeveless. Having 2 wetsuits now is making my life difficult. I made the call - sleeves - because I remembered that last week's sleeveless pond swim really ticked me off because the wetsuit would not behave (kept coming undone in the back, wetsuit hickies, pull string wrapping around my arm etc.).
The other great thing about this race was that there were tons of newbies toeing the start line. I LOVE watching these people because it always reminds me of where I started.......Danskin in 2003 - and it brings back great memories. And because I had people help me out all those years ago with my endless questions, I always try to help everyone I possibly can that are new to the sport. A couple of women had no idea where to put their race numbers and weren't afraid to ask me so I spent a few minutes with them before heading to the beach. Really, the newbies are the coolest.
Time for the swim start!!! As I have talked about before, I hate swimming with the boys. EWWWWWWW! They are aggressive and full of testosterone and ready to hit/kick/swim over anyone in their way. And my wave had boys. I'm pretty sure it was the old fart wave (40+) and the boys were foaming at the mouth ready to go. Normally, I head to the front of the line and swim to the front of the pack. But with these boys???? Nope. I lined up right behind super swimmer Cory with hopes that I could ride his draft through the first couple of minutes of craziness. No such luck. Feet and arms everywhere. Yucky boys!!!! Finally I made it to clear water without too much damage and just tried to get in my groove.
Transition went smoothly but last minute decided to not wear sunglasses. My favorite pair of Optic Nerve sunglasses broke last week and I love love love racing in them. My other pair is too dark and it was still kind of cloudy so I opted out of the glasses. (yes, that was another shameless product plug) Although I raced last week's crit sans glasses without a problem, that may not have been my best choice...
I started out on the ride knowing that there was a downhill and then a decent sized uphill. I hadn't previewed the course but got a glimpse of the hill on a drive-by. And the course was 4 loops so I figured it must be a downhill, uphill, downhill and an uphill. Times 4. Huh. The first downhill was fun except for the fact that I couldn't see!!! The lack of glasses and the cold wind and the downhill speed made my eyes water and my nose run. Hoping there are no pictures because clearly, that would not be pretty. Then the start of the first uphill and I swear it felt like I had a flat because I had slowed down so much. Nope. No flat. Just a big hill with a headwind. Lovely. Up and out of the saddle to the top, a corner, and a fast downhill. The next uphill wasn't as steep but I still got out of the saddle to climb. At this point my quads screamed at me a bit, they were feeling the effects of the last week (ummm, last 6 months). Oh well. It was what I had. And so I just counted the hills to get my 4 laps in. Before I knew it I was headed back to transition and my feet were numb.
Racked bike, and almost fell over trying to put my flats on numb feet. Left transition and noticed a women ahead of me seemingly running at a good clip. Perfect! I had a bogie!! I reminded myself to just get in my groove and slowly reel her in. Whatever. I passed her in the first half mile. OK, here we go! But I could tell by her breathing that she would not fight me on the pass. My breathing was under control and hers was labored. About this time a 22 year old boy toy passed me and I thought he was cruising. But he never got that far ahead of me, I was pacing with him! I saw Cory on the dog leg of the run (well, he saw me I was a bit focused) and then I was at the turnaround. I still felt great. My hammies were a bit tight but I didn't have any of the cement-like feeling I had at the Peak. I could also feel that stomach cramp just a bit but I'm not sure if it was a breathing cramp or related to my stomach muscle pull (blah blah blah). But I managed it and just kept going, tried to pick it up slightly, and tried to reel in boy toy. And then I was done. Sprints tris go by so quickly!!
Run: 21:11 (PR!!!)
I felt great even though I had no idea what my times were. I was pretty sure I had won my age group because no one passed me. And that was wonderful and everything but I didn't care. I knew in my heart I had put together a strong, solid run and that was my goal for the day. I knew my bike was OK, and I was OK with that. I talked with Cory for awhile and then we went to check out our results. 2nd place overall. And all my splits were right in line. Nice!!! But the best part was that I knew before even seeing splits that I had had a good day. The results just confirmed it. What if the results were poor??? I think I would still have been pleased with my run.....I like to think that the results are a by-product of a good day:)
So, here's the fun part. Everyone knows that triathletes are a bit of a crazy bunch. And we all seem to have our own quirks. That being said, I let a few of mine go today:
I did not race with my trademark ponytails (GASP!!!!). And I liked it.
I did not time my race. OK, this was a fluke, I was wearing my watch but apparently did not start it. But it was great. I had no idea what my splits were. And, in fact, didn't care.
I didn't wear sunglasses on the bike or the run.
I showed up casually to transition.
I did a light swim warm-up and a heavier run warm-up.
What does this all mean??? Well, nothing really except that it is always good to try new things and to not get caught up in your own hype/history. Allow yourself to let some things go or maybe try something new. But always with the purpose of not forgetting why we are out there on race day. To push ourselves, to expand our horizons and most importantly, to have fun.
I had fun Saturday!